A little R&R does a body good.
20.04.2009 34 °C
After an accomplished week of hiking, a near defeat by the swarms of blood-thirsty mosquitoes, and a chance to take in some of our world's ancient wonders, we were to relax. Added bonus: familiar faces! Marty's family had decided to come down to visit during their Easter break.
From Santa Marta we hopped a bus to Cartagena to meet up with the Argentis. While we had our own adventure on the bus (surprise, surprise!) they had had their fair share of trouble following Colombian "directions". It's a fantastic ideal to name your streets numerically, but it only works if they are sequential, as in- in numerical order. Crazy, I know. Nevertheless, Marty and I arrived to a beautiful air conditioned modern beach-themed apartment and were very excited to sit down in the first real chairs we had seen in over a week! Let the vacay begin. I was only slightly ashamed to show up to see my boyfriend's family for the first time in months not having showered for a solid week, but they didn't seem to phased by it (thanks guys!). Whatever feelings of gross-ness and shame were quickly washed away by (a real shower) and wonderful conversation, updates on life at home and the re-telling of some of our jungle adventures. Ahhhhh vacation!
We spent the next couple days wandering the streets of Cartagena's gorgeous and colorful facades, cute little shops, indulging in some Crepes and Waffles ice cream, and trying to duck in to whichever air conditioned store was closest just before the waterfalls of sweat started pouring down our backs. Don't you wish you could get that image out of your head?? It was seriously hot. The walls surrounding the old city keep the sea breeze out and the stickiness in, but we managed to keep our cool (no pun intended) with a mojito here or a limondada de coco there (the latter is my new favorite non-alcoholic beverage, essentially a blended coconut limeade).
It was great to be back in Cartagena. Not that staring out over the tops of the mountains while standing in the jungle doesn't give you something to look at, but the walled city is a far cry from an eyesore. Its just gorgeous. We took in the gold museum, a warm up for the one we have yet to see here in Bogota, the Inquisition Museum (no sloth this time), the fortress and had some delicious food! On Easter we made it to mass and had Easter brunch on the patio at a nearby hotel managing to escape the already blazing heat.
Later, we packed up and were on our way to Santa Marta. Not without a brief stop at the nearby Volcan Totumo (volcano) where you can sit in the mud that pools at the mouth of the volcano. We opted for pictures and coconut water straight from the coconut instead.
We made it to Santa Marta and checked into our hotel just in time for happy hour. We spent the next week taking in Santa Marta's offerings- Taganga (the backbackers town just outside of Santa Marta), Parque Nacional Tayrona where you can literally stay for days if you want. The white sand beaches are lined by jungle trees that stretch almost to the water and we saw a couple lemurs, plenty of lizards, butterflies and I could have sworn a capibara walk across the path in front of us.
We also wandered through Santa Marta, lounged at the pool, had our fill of seafood (yummmmm!), went to the aquarium, only accessible by boat and dangled from zip lines across the canopy (which was drier than I thought it would be).
By the time it was all said and done, I was putting up a little silent protest to the end of my vacation. Not only had it been wonderful to be included in Marty's family's vacation, for which I am incredibly grateful and thankful, but I had really enjoyed getting out of the BOG for a couple weeks. It was just the ticket to recharge the batteries for the last stretch here. We have about a month of work left here in Bogota before taking off for a few weeks of sightseeing elsewhere in South America.
A very heartfelt thank you Carla and Jerry for including me in your family trip and making me feel welcome. Thank you fo Beth for making not 1, but 2 trips down to visit. You have made part II of 'Marty and Monica do Colombia" a lot more rich and exciting.